Pig's Ear Park and Other Adventures

Month: July 2014 (page 1 of 2)

Chough birds….

…are large and black and make a sound like our Kaka birds, very raucous. saw loads of them today as i walked on what the guide book author said was a walk that was a whisket of delight.

well could not find whisket in the dictionary other than the name of a basket , maybe she thought it was a basket of delights????

Decided to skip Castletown to Port St Mary and do PSM to Port Erin, a mini walk only written up as whisket and seven miles with elevations up to 400 feet…This dame writing this book operates on one dimension!!!!
I conned David, Gill and ilaria to walk it too…..well David and i finished it, Gill and Ilaria wisely bailed out after lunch and went to visit an ancient village. Lunch was in an ancient hut above an area known as the chasms….

all very lovely, cliffs, birds and sea…also endless bluffs and endless rocky paths. highlight was probably the islet , the Calf of Man. Has a mean rip between there and the mainland, saw a yacht go thru, rather like moaning minnie at the entrance to Wn harbour…..

David And I walked on and on and damn well on….
Finally made it into Port Erin just after 4 pm…Six miles be damned, would have been at least 16 ks….

Good day but certainly not the cake walk i was expecting..

IOM has mainly white or cream houses, must be a regulatory thing. The IOM tartan includes white to represent the houses and yellow to represent gorse. Surprised it does not include purple as the hills are just about to erupt into bloom….

Tomorrow I am going to walk from Peel to Kirk Michael and that is it…will have evaded the 1400 ft bit plus two other sections but have already walked all down one side…as i said, have sailed past the other side anyway!!!!

Will probably done over a hundred ks and no certificate!!!!!

Not home till late, as we were over an hours drive to Port St mary, waited for a bus back then revisted the Calf of Man with Gill and ilaria. Gill said it was her happy place…

Friday i shall play at being a tourist…only one walk to go…
Yes, i would rate this one as a toughy, all the ups and downs…

Nearly defeated, but not quite!!!

Started walking from Douglas to Castletown at 9.30 . David drove me down from Andreas, took about 45 minutes, slightly misty….
Fabulous start, with high cliffs above the sea and this time i was on the high side!!! Slate upheavals aeons ago…
About 30 minutes in came across a young man doing pressups, no traffic obviously. Not only was he doing pressups he was doing them extending one leg out, good heavens I could feel my joints aching in sympathy….

Asked if I could take a photo, be quick he said, I only have about two left in me… Of course he was from Zimbabwe originally, now lives in the isle of man and runs a health clinic….
We chatted, five rules, take fish oil capsules, make sure they do not contain heavy metals, two, have a shot of probiotic every day, NOT the ones with dairy contents, eat raw vegies, salads, crudities before your main meal, and keep fruit down to thirty percent, vegies , sixty…Bugger , I prefer fruit.
Number four, drink vegie juices, ugh!!!! Five, be grateful morning and night that you are alive!!!! And yes, avoid dairy food….just an almost number six.

he then demonstrated some spinal exercises and had me doing them too, usual yoga stuff really…Leigh i can hear you chortling, the diet stuff is what you have preached for years….

Carried on walking, and walking and walking….some stunning scenery, coastline etc, then went inland, which annoys me as it does not seem necessary. Had my lunch by a stile, took twenty minutes and included a wee doze. Lay on my poncho, conscious now of damn ticks!!!!

Set off again, walked and walked, down to four beaches up from four beaches, huff puff. Saw baby seagulls in cliff nests and walked and bloody well walked….

Came to a section shared by sex crazed steers, told them they had done enough damage bogging up the path, they just carried on being steers.
By now 4 pm, supposed to meet D at four, about five plus kilometres away..Put the new phone on, it rang!!!

Finally got to the end of the airport at Castletown, with two other grumpy walkers, not happy with the guide book either….
I thought i was dojng well keepjng up with them when they said they must crack on as they were in need of a beer. I was just in need of water, had drunk my half litre ages ago…

Hurrah, David appeared, car was parked not far away, drank alitre of water and fell into the car…must have knocked out 24 ks with all the damn uppys and downseys!!! Tough day, other funny thing though was a note in the guide book saying look out for the nuns rock, where naughty nuns from Douglas were sent to do penance. The mind boggles.

Lots of bird life today though and probably a typical day walking, love it/hate it/never do it again/aaah isn’t that a wonderful view, all that within the space of ten minutes sometimes!!!!

Seagulls, what seagulls….

…only one i saw today was a manky creature eating scraps under a table in Laxey, then again there was also a manky manx cat there too….

So todays mission was to get close to Onshan, I did but got lost once, not where i expected to in the forest but simply could not find the short cut to Laxey, thus adding about 5 ks to the exercise….Plus it was five ks walked on the main road and there apparently is no upper speed limit on the open road here…shit oh dear i hung close to the wall on the side of the road…No ipods in use here, they would sneak up behind and run me over!!!

Started near Port mooar where i left off yesterday, good David dropped me off. All started well, down a bridle path thru a lovely beech forest, mmmm, then onto a nice little beach, Port Corunna, then of course the bash back up again. Nice and green though and nothing and nobody around.

Started off for Laxey, must have missed a sign, so that was how I came to be on a damn main road.
Spied, eventually, a waymark, headed down a really steep path to old Laxey, very pretty little port. had coffee and a large piece of cake, felt I had earned it! Miss the lovely little shots of espresso we gulped down in spain…

Then up another damn steep path along another road and eventually the sign for Garwick bay, lovely walk down, nice little stoney beach then another thump up thru a bushy path. Time was moving on, David et al were collecting me at four pm…
I stamped on, had some wonderful views but not a damn gull in sight. In fact little bird life at all, just a few sheep and more Range Rovers than i have ever seen in my life….

Toddled in to Port Groudle, another stoney little beach with a small railway line for carrying people to said beach…
Phone, new, had died, so no idea where d et al were, so tottered , yes joss, tottering by this time, up another steep bloody hill and collapsed on a stone waymarker and waited for them to find me, they did…

So, tomorrow, not sure if i will do the truly nasty bit from Douglas or retreat back up north and go down rather than up this gull way….

Body definitely feels like this was a 20 k plus day….
Hot today as well, plus never got to have a little nod, no time!!!!

Raad ny Foillan or The way of the Gull

Is the name of the walk i am doing around the Isle of Man.
Arrived in the village of Andreas on Saturday afternoon, after a mirror calm crossing from Liverpool, about two hours.

Andreas is up in the north of the island so my trek started from the point nearest to there which was Point of Ayre.
Had sailed past the light house on the point, well it was on my left, starboard? a week previously.

Lovely morning and absolutely nobody about, well, it was Sunday, but the island at this end is sparsely
populated. Only 80,000 manxies in total and 60,000 live in or around Douglas the capital. Oh, yes, on the way, David drove me to the start, we saw a Manx cat!!!!

Start, well suddenly i did not feel keen, beach looked stoney and hard to walk on…David hugged me and wished me luck and i was on my own!!! walked along the grass for a time with the beach below, then came to a fence that said keep out, not me I climbed over but realised I would have to get myself down to the beach, low tide. Took awhile until i found a place where I could slide down, bank was getting higher and i did not want to go back to the start…should have started on the beach of course.

Anyway, down to the waters edge and the going was better, reasonably firm with fewer stones. I then had probably the best two plus hours walk i have ever had, towering cliffs on one side, that unfortunately are eroding away, this part is unwalkable at high tide and on the other side, gently lapping sea and it was sunny AND there was nobody around , just me and the gulls, heaven!!!

Eventually got to Ramsey, nice little harbour town with an eroding sea wall, February storms… Had coffee and a scone at Gophers cafe and walked on. High tide by this time so had to walk on the road out to Maughold, a very old village on the Maughold headland. Lucky me I missed some of the steep bits due to the tide stopping access. Roads was very narrow but little traffic.

Lovely old church here with a collection of large stones, almost headstones, probably way markers etc, dating back to the sixth century. I stopped in a sunny spot for half an hour and had my lunch. usual, kitkats, almonds, a few blueberries and a muesli bar. Rosie, you would be pleased, i drank almost 750 mls of water today. Water here is great, no taste and soft….
Eventually realised i need to move and set off to Port Mooar.

Nasty little track around the side of a cliff, very steep in parts and caused me to cover my face on the side nearest the drop, shades of Tui on the bridge. lots of slate and shale now and the path was built by ten foot giants so i slithered down some of the steep bits on my behind, not elegant but effective.

Eventually got to Port Moaar, just a stoney shelving beach and raining by this time. walked on to the little station of Ballajola, little electric trains buzz up and down the island , on this side anyway. They are very cute. I poked my nose out of the shelter to take a picture, train stopped to see if I wanted a ride, must admit I felt silly saying no, but how kind!!!,

David and Gill collected me and we came back the way i had walked, well to Ramsey anyway, minus the beach bits.

I thought i had walked 18 miles, but checked and it was fifteen. I was surprised and usually after 24 ks I am sagging, but today went really well.
Just onto the next bit, which has plenty of margin for error looking at the guide book. IOM is very pretty, a miniature UK.


Port sunlight and other little adventures…

Monday was spent doing the inevitable washing etc..Tuesday all was done and the sun was shining…..

On board Boudicca there was a great lecture on Liverpool and although I have been there several times I decided to revisit some parts plus go over to the Wirral and visit Port Sunlight. P S was founded by the manufacturer of sunlight soap etc Lord Lever, he must have been a rich old dude…

It is a large village next door to his factory and was established around 1900, mainly arts and crafts in style , much influenced by William Morris but postdates him.

A lovely church where Lord whatever and Mrs Lord lever are buried, plus lovely gardens with a spectacular war memorial, lots of bronzes etc. Also a memorial to the Hillsborough tragedy. PLUS a spectacular gallery, Lady lever gallery of course.

Lever was a collector, wedgewood, furniture, Chinese snuff bottles, all sorts of Chinese pottery plus a collection of victorian paintings. The paintings were all a bit overblown in true Victorian style…

There was an exhibition of Rosetti paintings, all in the same overblown Victorian style and all of Janey Morris, wife of Willaim and lover of Rosetti!!!! Those Victorians sure had double standards. At one stage Rosetti lived with William and Jane at Kelmscott Manor.

Back on the train and over to Liverpool,visited the anglican cathedral which was hosting a dinner for University caterers -wow!!!! walked down Hope st, now very trendy to the Catholic cathedral but could only do the outside , a graduation was on. Lept on the bus to Moorfields station then the train to Birkdale Great day as it was lovely and sunny.

Today I had thought of going to Chester by train but instead virtuously did a twelve k walk along the beachfront, creaked a bit but pretty good. So am hopeful the isle of man will go well.
Lots of golden rule out, plus the last of the briar roses…Another lovely sunny day. may get the bike out tomorrow…

Nearly back…

Ireland on one side and think it may be Scotland on the other, if it is the isle of man it looks damn big….
Have thought about the trip the last few days belting down the North Atlantic, on two engines, the captain proudly says, saves lots of fuel…very lucky to have had calm seas….Although rough ones may have kept some of the trotters out of the trough…

Iceland, oddly enough was green and Greenland was icy!!!!!
The green vegetation all over Iceland is a type of moss, very springy to walk on and apparently is edible fodder for animals.
Greenland of course has a massive ice cap in the middle, well nearly all of it. just around the coast is habitable….

Life on board has its own routines, brekkie about 8.30 then probably a lecture, had some good ones, Madam Booth, founder of the salvation Army, Lord Curzon, viceroy of India, plus one on the Norwegian Nobel prize winner, he crossed Greenland first using dog sleds around 1890. He went on to be an amazing humanitarian, saved about 22 million lives just pre and post WW1. Plus lectures on the various ports of call.

There is an amazing female comedian on board, she does evening shows, laughed till i had stitch one night…Sings like Cilla black as well..Plus totally approachable when out and about….

So lunch, then a wee snooze and a read, then a plow around the deck for half an hour, another lecture or similar, pre dinner drinks, dinner, sit down at assigned tables, then a show after dinner then more drinks…
Have gained weight, lotta sugar in wine….
Romance between posh lady and copper died a very early death. dutchman still holds forth at length, i still ignore him, nah, i don’t hold grudges.
Couple at the next table have been my main social contact plus one of the other ladies at the table, nice person, former nurse..
Will be a shock to have to pick up my own towels etc….
Funniest group on board, about six twitchers(bird watchers), they stand up on the centre of the ship in all weathers with their huge cameras and swathed in green bird watching clothes….very serious lot…..



…was great… day started off cold about 4c but i proved rapidly until it hit about 14 c.
nanortalik sevices an area larger than NSW, but the whole area onlny has about 2500 people. Nana has about 700 people, including a fish market that was very whiffy, selling whale meat….It was like a tin shed.

It also has a fabulous living museum, someone has done a great job restoring all the old buildings, so lovely, old stone houses plus some made of earth plus a jack up of a summer tent complete with skins , the danish pastries on a teay were a bit of a puzzle.

The town put on a kaffe klutz at the town centre, coffee and cake provided for everyone plus the local choir sang and kids did folk dances. girls wearing seal skin pants….choir almost like throat singers.,.folk dances very similar to gay gordons etc…

Rest of the town was a bit boring but obviously a trading centre…funniest thing, waiting on the tender back to the boat, kids were fishing up bikes from the water, obviously the local sport, steal a bike and throw it in the harbour.
Water was so clear….
Just learnt that the coloured houses represent what profession/service the occupants provide, e.g. yellow for medical…

saw a Scottish couple, with their inflatable/portable kayaks plus tent, planning an expedition. I earwigged a conversation between them and three frenchmen , not sure what they were up to but they were impressively dressed in wet weather gear…

Went back on board for a 4 pm departure, we were going out via Prins christian sound…
Nearly didn’t , a dopey couple got left ashore, so we never left until nearly five…,

The sound was stunning, a very narrow channel in parts, can see why we never went thru on the way south…Formidable mountains of granite either side, impressive icebergs, snow and the odd glacier.
sound is about 80 miles long and luckily it stays light till late…
half way in, there is a settlement of seventy people, god that is isolated….

Although thescenery is wonderful it wouldbe like only seeing fiordland all the time

Punishment day

Well that is what it feels like, have about twenty huge mozzie bites, little sods chewed me thru my jersey. some people on the walk up to the glacier have about forty. mine are all on my back with a few on my arms…. Luckily I have some spray which seems to help, little black bastards!!!!!

Yesterdays townlet was called Narsaruao and was the site of airforce base bluie One.

Today we are in Qaqortoq, which is nearer the coast, the reason for yesterdays nice weather is that area is known as the banana coast!!!!Inland and way up a sound.

Today- 3c!!!!! So although covered in deet from stem to stern, it was misty and almost drizzling so aforementioned parentless ones were not out in force.
Q is a pretty little town built along a ridge, not as pretty or as big as bergen but sort of low key similar…It is the biggest town in southern greenland, 2000 people. Secondary schooling is done here then the brightest kids go off to Denmark for higher education…

Another walk today, around the great lake, about 12 ks around and the water supply for the town. Again, lake tekapo style. Actually saw cloud berry plants today, realised I have been seeing them all over, just never knew, they are ground huggers.
The plants are much later here, lupins just starting to flower, finished in iceland and the banana coast.

Pleasant walk, spoilt by a mad bugger singing …kill!!!!
No height involved but a rocky path that needed care.
Gradually warmed up, and now we are about to leave the sun is shining….Tenders ashore today, god they waste sometime and the crew that drive them are not that skilled!!!!!

Tomorrow we are in Nanortalik and the day after if the weather is kind, cruising Prins Kristian Sund, the one we missed a few days ago.
Greenland has home rule under Denmark, loads of minerals here including uranium….Australia is in here prospecting…..

Glaciers etc….

Yesterday we were supposed to sail thru prince whats its sund, but it was so foggy that we went around the peninsula, this was after a force seven gale, boy did we go fast and bounced all the way from Rejakvik to the entrance to the sound.
So , a day of mooching around, ate myself silly..
Meals on this boat range from very good to downright boring…David, tonight i had a white meal, shades of spain, grilled chicken and chips followed by a vile dessert, but i had a great lunch…
breakfast and lunch are buffet, i hate buffets but the lunch ones can turn it on… dinner is a sit down formal job.

The dutchman has been vanquished, silenced by my withering glances and the snarky comments from the former aussie, god she can be viscous……
So , today dawned beautiful and sunny, and we were surrounded by icebergs in the townlet of Ngaraounga…well something like that..
Anyone who knows me knows that lake Oahu and the valley it is in is my happy place, well this place is its twin!!! Happy as a pig in the proverbial.
not many people live here, after the excitement of WW2 around 1953 everyone left leaving 15 Danes!!! There are a few more people here now, but only about 200. At its height after the airstrip was built in 1941 there were a few thousand yanks here. It was a central point for refuelling etc. at one stage there were 130 planes a day flying out of here.

There is still an airstrip, about 2 ks long with a thirty metre height difference from one end to the other. saw two planes land….
c look up cafe blue, they do all sorts of tours etc.
I walked into the townlet, about 2 ks from the ship, visited the museum, realised i had no money to get in, but gained admission for a kiss on both cheeks, and he was a cute dane.
Museum is tatty but fascinating about the war years…

There was huge sinking near the sound the town is in and all there was to perform the rescue was the 15 danes, a search and resue base was soon set up after …Only two hundred of the nine hundred on aboard were rescued.

Todays excursion was an eight k walk to see a glacier, further I would have thought as it was very very uppy.
views of the glacier were great, up about 500 m…
God almighty yesterday the sea was 3000m deep!!!!
So lots of beautiful scenery today, think lake tekapo with icebergs!!! , and it was HOT!!!!Must have been at least 20 c but far colder in the shade!,,,
Lotsa lovely flowers, little gentians even some sedums!!!

Must write about the man with the toy dog!!!, What a character, we were all taking photos of the damn thing by the end of the walk!!,,
Tomorrow another walk in …. round a lake this time so no uppys.
So, two more shore days then four days back to Liverpool…
The ex cop and the posh lady are getting cosy!!!!
i must admit i will appreciate a view of davids garden unobscured by a lifeboat!,,,,

Some excitement…

Arrived in Rejavik in coolish weather, about 12 c and with no activity planned until the afternoon I had the morning free so stomped off the 5 ks into the town. There seemed to be a lot of new buildings along the waterfront, maybe done before the bank crash? Very modern buildings, and some really interesting architecture. The latest addition on the waterfront is a building called Harpa, Iceland’s opera house…A dark glass with coloured insets, two large bock like buildings but there were other interesting large buildings as well…

The walk into town is along the waterfront, think it is a recent addition. Makes a nice change to have a pleasant walk from port to town. Lots of birdlife and lovely wildflowers and the main road is only 200 metres away. Nice to walk alongside the sea…Weather started to pack up around lunchtime, down to about 12 c.   I managed to walk back without setting foot in a shop…

My chosen trip for Rejavik was to go whale watching; I know, I know, you can do it in NZ…. Along with about thirty others I was loaded into a whale watching (or anything watching) type tourist boat with hard seats and viewing decks outside for the hardy.  Very basic, no lifeboat drill, no nothing.

One piece coveralls were provided if the urge to go outside to see whales overtook one. Not me, I stayed in along with a nice couple I have drinks with most nights…

We went further and further and further out, apparently about 12 ks, in rough water, a few vomitus ones made it a bit of a trial!!!! For our sins we were rewarded with several sightings of a family of orcas, ma, pa and two juveniles.   I know Nik, i could see them in Auckland harbour!!! And it would be warmer…

We finally turned around and came back to port, two metre swells but no waves breaking over us. People got very wet, not me!!! By the time we got back to the boat it was about 8c and bloody cold.

Another exciting dinner with xyz etc. The dutchman is trying us all sorely, the couple who I drink with are fed up with him as well and they are on the next table!!!!! I was tempted to tell him I had been bitten on the bum by a tick when he was in mid flight about some virus he had contacted in Africa – that was a new one…. Quick dinner then asleep by 9 pm, all that fresh air.

The next day I caught the shuttle into town determined to find an adventure somewhere, was looking for a bus trip, found a helicopter with my name on it!!!! Well, it was a trip to the three volcano mountain that was being advertised. After a bit of haggling I spent a chunk of money to fly with four others to the volcano site. There was an optional cave trip down five hundred metres, I declined, happy to wait for the other three passengers to do their vole like expedition.

Out to the airport, leapt into the helicopter, sadly it was raining like hell by this point, but it was still so exciting to finally get a helicopter ride. Nik and Julian will remember T trying to organise one for us on one of my birthdays, rained out!

I loved it!!!! Spent a happy forty minutes talking to the pilot in the tea hut at the top, Iceland has tough taxes and only has a population of 350,000. The girl in charge of the tea hut said it made dating hard as everyone in her age group seems to have been out with everyone…..

One horse for every four people, they eat em and ride em…..

Time to go back, I was put in the front seat, wow, pity it was wet as I was going to be flown over the ship, wouldn’t that have been something….

Still it was exciting, driven back to town by a handsome young pilot…back to the travel agent, and of course six young kiwis were in there, the owner was thrilled as I said how much i enjoyed the flight!!!!

Cleared up not long after and I had a nice walk back to the ship. The front went thru earlier and faster than expected.

Lots of public sculptures around, t would have loved it… Could have done with another day.

I tried to tempt myself with some retail therapy in a shop selling lovely silver jewellery and another one with a fantastic a fur vest but decided I had done enough financial damage for one day.

Curry dinner in the casual restaurant last night so avoided the dutchman…force seven gale overnight, bit nasty, boy he pushed that boat thru the sea…..sunny today….

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